Self-Driving Cars Decide To Kill Pedestrians

Jan 02, 2017 06:30 AM EST | Jeroah Sabado

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The hype around self-driving car evolution is reaching a fever pitch and everyone should better be prepared for it for new plans for our autonomous future are regularly declared. The companies, Ford, Google, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, and Uber, have all announced that they will release fully autonomous cars and trucks on the road in the United States by 2021.

As technology marches forward, companies are still finding ways on how autonomous vehicles will transform responsibility when there's a crash, something that is very important if the crash is about to harm or kill a pedestrianThe most well-known issue in a computer-controlled car is the fact that when an unavoidable crash occurs, it can never determine whether whose lives should be sacrificed just to save another life.

The latent capability for self-driving cars to harm leads to these questions: Who is to blame when things go horribly wrong? Should the company be charged for it? How should the vehicle behave when a pedestrian unexpectedly gets in the car's way?

In an email wrote by Noah Goodall of Virginia Transportation Research Council, he mentioned that the AV should "slow to a crawl" every time a pedestrian walks nearby just in case the pedestrian accidentally throws himself in front of the car.

Some experts say that the question is very difficult to answer considering the vehicle is only working on a set of algorithms. Even if programmers did a perfect algorithm, the pattern of crashes varies and no matter how intelligent it is, it can never defy the laws of physics.

Safety is not guaranteed in a human-driven car as well. But there are things to be considered first before riding these cars to avoid such failures. These would be the training of the operator, manufacturer's choice of technology, and take note of the car's limits.

The idea of technological progress may not be inevitable, but the changes it makes seems to be. Still, the industry is preparing regardless.

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